The Right Water Bottle for You

It would be an extreme understatement to call the garbage created by bottled drinks a serious problem. In Hong Kong, less than 4% of disposable plastic (PET) drink bottles are recycled and Coca-cola owned brands alone produce 1 million bottles a day (you read that right, it’s per day). These bottles end up in the landfill or worse yet in the ocean. According to National Geographic, “Plastic break down fast in the ocean…These degrading plastics are leaching potentially toxic chemicals…into the seas, possibly threatening ocean animals, and us… About 44 percent of all seabirds eat plastic, apparently by mistake, sometimes with fatal effects.

Drinking tap water when on-the-go is the best way we can ensure that we don’t contribute to this problem. Water without sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, coloring or additives is also the healthiest and safest choice for our bodies. According to the Hong Kong government: “Water samples are taken regularly throughout the entire supply and distribution system… The data from these samples are checked against the World Health Organization’s Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality… With this international standard of reference, you can rest assured that the water in your home is safe for consumption… The water that comes out of your taps is amongst the safest in the world, as long as the plumbing in your property is properly maintained.” Since we haven’t bothered to find out about the condition of the plumping in our building, we have installed a filter on our tap to be on the safe side.

GREEN RATING We give all re-usable water bottles a Deep Green rating not only because they are an invaluable tool in reducing waste, but also because they reduce carbon emissions resulting from the production, transportation and refrigeration of bottled drinks. With summer just around the corner, using a re-usable drinking container is something we can all do to ensure we don’t contribute to this massive garbage problem.

Departing from our usual practice of providing a product rating, we have instead outlined the pros and cons of four products readily available in Hong Kong, to help you chose the right one for you. Generally, I have found that unless doing strenuous exercise, you don’t need as large of a container as you may imagine, especially since you’ll likely be having a drink with your meals. Upon coming home I often find my bottle still half-full. And since it’s something that you’ll be using all the time, it pays to buy one you’ll enjoy using. I have tried using all the bottles except for Klean Kanteen.

NOTE: none of the bottles profiled are designed for hot drinks.

PRODUCT Klean Kanteen pictured with sports cap (unlined stainless steel)

PRICE About HK$200

PROS The elegant shape makes it the best looking bottle on the market. Slim profile fits well in your hand. Stainless steel makes it tough and durable. Resists taste and odors. The inverted cap is easy to clean. Comes in many colors.

CONS Smallish mouth makes it hard to clean inside. Stainless steel makes it heavier (but also more dent resistant than aluminum).

PRODUCT Bilt (unlined stainless steel)

PRICE About HK$80

PROS Large mouth makes it easy to clean (important if you like flavored drinks) and easy to add ice cubes. The ring on the lid makes it easy to carry with two fingers. The rugged look gives it character, like a pair worn Levi’s, when it’s inevitably dropped and dented. Stainless steel makes it tough and durable. Resists taste and odors.

CONS Heavy. The width makes it a bit too large to fit comfortably in your hand and may not fit easily into a slim bag.

PRODUCT Nalgene (Copolyester)

PRICE About HK$80

PROS Low weight and very durable.  Easy to clean. Translucence makes it easy to see exactly how much water you have. The attached lid means no accidentally dropping it on the ground.

CONS Gets scratched and looks a bit scruffy after a couple of years. A bit too wide to fit easily in your hand.

PRODUCT Sigg (lined aluminum)

PRICE Around HK$200

PROS Very lightweight. Large selection of colors and graphic designs. Small mouth means contents don’t flood out of the bottle so rapidly making it good for drinking while moving. All aluminum bottles use a lining that resists tastes and odors.

CONS Dents easily and since it’s such a refined looking bottle it looks especially bad when dented. Small mouth makes it nearly impossible to clean the inside.

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10 thoughts on “The Right Water Bottle for You

  1. I have a Klean Kanteen, and I like it very much. For fresh smelling stainless steel bottle, u could use about 2 table spoons of distilled vinegar in the empty bottle, roll it on the side to coat all surface inside, leave it for a few minutes then rinse with water.

    1. Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely try it, much easier then trying to scrub the inside of these bottles. I really want a Klean Kanteen, they look so good, but have a “no unnecessary shopping rule”!

  2. Why aren’t they not designed for hot drinks, i mean not even the metal ones? And, what temperature do you mean hot?
    I have both a Bilt and a Nalgene, and I did pour hot water into them from time to time, i guess some 50-60 C degree. The Bilt will be hard to hold with hot water due to its very conducting body. They Nalgene doesn’t seem to have much plasticky smell.
    Thanks for your nice article!

    1. Yes, agree it’s primarily due to heat transfer that I wouldn’t pour hot liquids into them and also because the liquid (assume it’s tea or coffee we are talking about) probably won’t be hot by the time you want to drink it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

    1. The is a place with Klean Kanteen one block from the Sheung Wan MTR exit A2. Exit turn right and then left across the street walk straight past the convenience store and turn left at the next street. Its halfway up block on left side.

  3. Why can’t we just go on using ‘disposable’ bottles? Somehow, there are always a few around at home (I don’t want to throw them out!) and they are light, functional and keep clean just fine.

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